Beerd on St Michael’s Hill in Kingsdown was the leader of the pack in Bristol when it came to presenting beer as an expensive commodity rather than something simply to tip down your neck on a night out.
It took a while for the trend to catch on but then came the ‘Beermuda Triangle’ made up of Small Bar, the Beer Emporium and the Royal Navy Volunteer on King Street, recently joined by Kongs.
Strawberry Thief now open on Broad Street, although very much still a beer bar, is an altogether different proposition with Belgian beers to the fore and a genteel atmosphere replete with chandeliers, a grand fireplace and expensive-looking wallpaper.
From the team behind The Hare pub on North Street, this new bar only serves drinks for now and one food option, a quiche of the day, although a full menu is promised in the new year.
On draught are five beers, from the 4.5% Blanche de Bruxelles to the 8.4% Pauwel Krak. Several dozen bottled beers are arranged by type: pilsner, blonde, tripel, witbier, saison, dark, fruit and sour.
Bottles are mostly 330ml but a few are 750ml. Like a game of Top Trumps, the strongest tipple I found was 11.3%, the Rochefort 10 described as having a “very impressive taste and a strong plum, raisin and currant palate”.
Prices vary but average out at around £5 for a 330ml bottle.
Beers are also mostly served in their own unique glassware, like my Orval (sold to support the monastery of the same name but sadly no longer brewed by monks) in a branded chalice with a stem the thickness of a small tree.
Beerd may seem like a grand old dame now compared to Kongs and now Strawberry Thief, but a document written in 1628 by Orval’s abbot mentioned the monks in the monastery drinking beer. Now that’s a trend not likely to end any time soon.
Strawberry Thief, 26 Broad Street, Bristol, BS1 2HG
0117 925 6925